Disney/Pixar's Ed Catmull: Creating magic

Ed Catmull

By Vicki Bolam, review@ucsc.edu

Ed Catmull, cofounder of Pixar and president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, has received numerous professional honors, including an Academy Award for lifetime achievement in computer graphics for film.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, Catmull earned B.S. degrees in computer science and physics and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. He is the 2009 recipient of UCSC's Foundation Medal.

Under Catmull's leadership, Pixar has broken new ground both technologically and artistically. Toy Story, released in 1995, was the world's first computer-animated feature film, and Pixar's other blockbusters have included A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille, and WALL-E.

Catmull is passionate about creating collaborative environments that bring talented people together to, as he puts it, "create magic." Catmull outlines his vision in a September 2008 article published in the Harvard Business Review, titled "How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity."

A number of UCSC alumni have gone on to work for Pixar, including

Dallis Anderson (Cowell '02, film and digital media),

Tim Babb (College Nine '08, computer science),

Malcolm Blanchard (Crown '72, computer and information sciences),

Pam Darrow (College Eight '94, psychology),

Sally Garbarini (Stevenson '96, art history),

Amy Hale (Oakes '04, film and digital media),

Mark Henne (M.A. '90, computer and information sciences),

Tara Hernandez (Cowell '95, computer and information sciences),

Elizabeth Thomas Mantia (Cowell '91, theater arts),

Kevin Nolting (Porter '79, aesthetic studies),

Leaf Nunes (Crown '97, computer science), and

Eric Rosales (Kresge '00, film and digital media).